I am officially about a month away from being a father and I'm sure a lot of you can imagine things are pretty crazy in the Watson home. We've got our pink Pack-and-Play, our pink swing, our pink baby rocker chair thingy, a purple Bumbo and a closet FULL of more little girl clothes than she'll even be able to wear before she outgrows them. Yesterday, however, my wife asked (and may have jinxed everything), "what if it turns out to be a boy?" The answer, well...ummm...I guess we start over from scratch. See, that's the funny thing about expectations, if something doesn't turn out the way we expected, it forces us to rethink things a bit and then start again.
This year we as Suns fans have battled all season with what we should expect from our team. At the beginning of the season it was expected that Terry Porter was going to bring a defensive mind to the team and hold Amare accountable on both ends of the floor, we rarely saw either happen. Then it was expected that he would try and incorporate a little bit of the run-n-gun into his slow it down game and again, we were given glimpses of what could happen but ultimately disappointed. Then once Porter was out and Gentry in, we expected to all of a sudden become the same team we've been in the recent past (this was given more fuel by the awesomeness that was the two 140 point games against the Clippers) but then reality set in and we realized that we were not the same and that the team needed time to come together and learn how to play this new style.
So, with 16 games left and the Suns 5 back behind the Mavericks for the last playoff spot (and 7 games behind the Rockets for 3rd...just saying), what should we expect from our Suns? I'm going to give you 3 things that I'll be looking for as this roller coaster season comes to a close.
1) I expect the Suns to play with an extreme sense of urgency from here on out
The Suns know where they're at. They know what needs to be done and they are aware that they have an easier schedule than the Mavs. They however, don't know what the Mavs are going to do during this stretch run and thus, need to worry about the things they can control. I always find it funny when my wife gets completely upset over things that we have no control over, personally, I've always felt you worry about the things that you can control and let everything else play out. The Suns need to have this same mentality during this stretch. They need to worry about playing their best ball of the season and finishing as strong as they can. Remember, we have two players who were a part of the Warriors that made a run down the stretch to sneak into the playoffs and then beat the #1 seed Mavericks in the first round. Obviously the Suns could win every game from here on out and it might not be enough, but they have to play like it will be. I would expect to see more effort and hustle from everyone, especially the veteran players, throughout this next stretch.
2) I expect the Suns to beat the Mavs on April 5th
The Suns, if they have any pride, will come out for this game fired up. I don't care if the Mavs have the 8th seed locked up by this point, there is no reason for the Suns not to come out and look to destroy the Mavs. There are certain games that go beyond playing for seeding or playoff births and that are just important to win...this is one of those games. Regardless of rankings or anything else, the Suns NEED to win this game and I fully expect them to.
3) I expect to be entertained watching the NBA over the next month
I love basketball and this season has been awesome. We've seen Lebron turn into an absolute beast - if he carries THIS Cavs team to the title, the "can he become better than Michael Jordan" conversation can officially begin and that kills me to say because I loved watching Jordan play more than anything. We've seen the second coming of Dwyane Wade and it's been good. We have also been treated to one of the best rookie classes in recent memory and the emergence of a lot of young stars (especially at the PG position). Now as the season closes, we have tight playoff races in both conferences and the promise of some great playoff matchups. As a Suns fan, I may or may not come out of this final month disappointed but as a basketball fan, there is no way I could be disappointed by what has happened and what will continue to happen this season (unless of course, the Lakers or Spurs win the championship). So no matter what, I expect the greatness that has been this season to continue throughout the playoffs.
So just as I really believe that the girl my wife and I are expecting will, in fact, be a girl, I fully expect that our Suns will play with a sense of urgency and beat the Mavs as this great and extremely entertaining season comes to a close. So there you have my expectations and in the spirit of sharing (and wanting to know how much faith we have left as a fan base), take the poll.